- Americans consume nearly 20 billion garments a year. That’s 68 garments and 7 pairs of shoes per person or more than one piece of clothing purchased per week.
- Many large clothing chains produce as much as a half a billion garments per year. UNIQLO makes 600,000 items of clothing a year. Zara processes 1 million garments per day. As of 2009, Forever 21 was ordering 100 million garments per year.
- World fiber production is now 82 million tons, which requires 145 million tons of coal and somewhere between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion gallons of water to produce.
- According to the EPA, Americans throw away an average of 10 pounds of clothes per person each year.
- Throughout the U.S., almost 13 million tons of textile waste are generated annually. Of that, just 15% is recovered for reuse or recycling.
- Polyester production now exceeds 50 billion pounds a year worldwide and is the dominant fiber. China produces well over half the worldwide output.
- As of 2011, 99% of footwear at 98% of apparel is made outside of the United States, down from around 50% in 1990.
- Between 1996 and 2011, more than a half a million American garment industry jobs were lost.
- Only 20 percent of the clothes we donate are sold in charity thrift shops (There’s simply too much to resell it all!). About half of secondhand clothing is turned into fibers or wiping rags. The rest is shipped overseas as used clothing.
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New story by me! Fabric processors, shape-shifting yarns and other ways we'll soon wear the future on our sleeves - hpematter.com/issue-no-8-win…